31 August 2009

Cooking on the Fire

We had a cookout tonight with some hot dogs from Bailey's Local Foods. They were really good. And first I sauteed some onions on the stove so they were like gourmet camping.

29 August 2009

Peppers from the Garden

We don`t have many peppers in the garden but we do have some and the first were ready! We ate 3 sweet peppers in our vindaloo curry last night. They tasted good, just like regular peppers.

``Sun``-dried Tomatoes

I had been thinking I had planted way too many little tomatoes which I can`t do much with but eat fresh and not enough big tomatoes that I could try canning with. But then I remembered that Eliot Coleman said he dries his tomatoes and of course cherry tomatoes are better for that. So I looked up the best way to do that without a dehydrator and found that people were doing them in their oven without any special equipment. So I did it.

I washed the tomatoes and cut them in half (great thing about doing cherry tomatoes was I didn`t have to bother cutting out the stem part and they turned out fine). Then I lay them cut side up on a baking tray and put them in the oven.
People on the internet were talking about putting their oven as low as it goes to about 200F but mine goes all the way down to 100F so I did that for a while. But I got impatient so eventually I went up to 175F. And sometimes I had the door open and sometimes I didn`t. They really started going once I turned the oven to 175F. So it took about 6 hours in total but could have been faster if I had had the oven at 175F for longer.

Anyway I think they turned out pretty great! A lot were crispy, not really sun dried tomato texture but still worked and some were still too juicy to be sun dried tomatoes. But they all tasted like sun dried tomatoes and I figure will be great to add to pasta and maybe even some kind of really fancy soup. And so that I didn`t have to bother getting them all perfectly dry I just threw them all into the freezer when most were done so I don`t have to worry about mould. It was fun too. I am now thinking I definitely want to buy a dehydrator. Just think of all the fun things I could dehydrate!

28 August 2009

Squirrel Soap Dish

I finished another soap dish today. A squirrel for the washroom near Kevin's study. This time I am not putting any protector on the soap dish and we'll see how it lasts. It's so much nicer not to have to deal with that and I think it will do well for my natural type marketing should that ever come up.

24 August 2009

Oyster Mushrooms

I received my oyster mushroom growing kit in the mail today. It is just a bag of sawdust and spores I guess. I keep it indoors in a cool room where it gets indirect light. I've put it in the basement next to a window, even right by the window I think it counts as only indirect light and I hope it is enough. I meant to buy some oyster mushrooms from the grocery store before we bought this to make sure we liked them but never got round to it and I was too excited to keep waiting. I'm sure we will like them. I just have to try to remember to mist it twice a day. We got it from this company, we'll see how many mushrooms it gives us but it seems like a pretty good deal to me.

21 August 2009

Dilly Beans

Since we have just about an infinite amount of green beans I thought I'd try the dilly beans recipe that shows up in every canning book. It is just pickled green beans. Can't imagine really liking them but thought it was worth trying. Have to wait several weeks for them to get properly pickled.

20 August 2009

Zero Mile Salad (except for the dressing)

Now that we have tomatoes in the garden we have everything that we need for a salad! Today at lunch we had a salad of romaine lettuce, baby tomatoes, cucumbers, chives, and a few green beans and peas. It was delicious.

Corn Relish

I made corn relish! Used the recipe out of my Blue Book of Preserving and it smelled just like the corn relish we usually buy from the market (for $4 a jar) so I think it will be good. I have some more canning planned too.

Beer Bottling

We brewed some beer with a couple of Kevin's cousins over the past week. We used a kit from the grocery store and were able to borrow all the equipment. So it cost $21 for 23 litres of beer. All we had to do really was a lot of sterilizing and siphoning. Siphoning turned out to be a huge deal because we lost the suction almost after every bottle for some reason. But it was fun anyway and now we have another couple of weeks to wait and it will hopefully be good for drinking.


My sourdough starter that I made was finally ready and so I made sourdough bread. The bread was pretty good but didn't taste much like sourdough. Don't know if it was the recipe or my starter. Anyway I won't be trying it again anytime soon. But it was really soft and fluffy and perfect for sandwiches. I might try using the baking method to make my regular dough into a better sandwich bread.

18 August 2009


We had our first peach today. It fell from the tree a couple of days ago and became ripe today. It was tasty and juicy, the skin was a bit thick and bitter maybe because it was still very small. There are only about 10 that hase stayed on the tree but I am excited to eat them, hopefully they won't fall off and will be tree ripened.

Today we picked and ate 2 tree ripened peaches. They were great and pretty decent sized too. The skin was definitely a bit tought though.

Bean Time

Bean season has come. The wall of green beans is just full. I had no problem finding a pound and a half of green beans on Sunday for a green bean salad. There's still plenty on there that I should get eating.

And yesterday we ate our harvest of scarlett runner beans. I just a few plants in various places throughout the garden for the pretty flowers. They were good, have way more flavour than green beans. But a bit tough, will have to try picking them when they're smaller next year.

Homemade Pasta

I bought a used pasta machine on Saturday and on Sunday Kevin and I made homemade pasta. We did a simple half all purpose, half semolina recipe to start. And we served it with basil pesto from the garden. It was really good.
I can imagine the process getting a bit easier with practice but not all that much so I don't think I'll be doing it on a regular basis. It was a lot of work. You have to put the dough through on the highest setting, then the next lowest setting till it's thin enough. Then you put it throught the cutters. And it was all very fiddly.

14 August 2009

Baby News

Kevin and I are having a baby! I will hit the 12 week mark this weekend so it is now completely official and for real. We also had our first midwife appointment on Wednesday. We both really like the midwife which was a relief. And we got to hear the heartbeat! That was awesome. The midwife used a doppler machine on my tummy. First we could hear my heartbeat and then we could hear this really fast heartbeat - that was the baby! It`s alive! It was great. But now I don`t know how I could possibly think about anything other than the baby. It is hard to get anything done!

Baby Shoes

I made the cutest baby shoes. Not sure how well they`ll work on just because they`re a bit fiddly and stiff. But I love how they look.

Scroll Work Birdhouse

Finally mounted my scroll work bird house. I`m sure no birds will occupy it because none have touched the 2 birdhouses that I put up in the spring. But I think it looks really nice on the plain windowless wall of the garage so I`m not bothered.

Monster Zucchini Cake

Zucchini are doing well. I keep leaving them to become monsters so I`ve been doing baking with them. Made zucchini muffins last week and this week added zucchini to a chocolate cake.

This monster zucchini yielded 7 cups of mashed zucchini! I used the blender instead of grating it and that worked well. I managed to fit 3 cups of it into the cake just by taking a regular chocolate cake recipe and replacing the water with zucchini. So now I have 4 cups in the freezer that I will use for baking at a later date. I also have a couple big zucchinis in the fridge.


Just wanted to update that we are now regularly eating cucmber and potatoes from the garden. The potatoes are good, I can just grab some when I want them. But it is a bit hard to keep up with the cucumbers.

Garlic Braid

Well the garlic definitely isn`t getting any bigger. It is very small. Next year I will have ot get my act together in time to plant it in the fall. I love my garlic braid hanging in the kitchen though.

Mint Tea

The mint finished drying and I picked the leaves and crushed it up. It took me almost an hour to do that and it yielded 3 - 1 cup jars of tea.

We tasted and it tasted pretty good. We don`t know what type of mint it is but are pretty sure it`s not peppermint so it`s nice, a bit different than regular mint tea.

06 August 2009

Drying mint

We have lots of mint. It's from the old owner so we had some last year but this year we have that patch and another patch that somehow sprung up about 10 feet away from the other patch. So I thought we should make sure to do more than a couple of mojitos with it this year. I put some in the couscous I made for dinner and the rest I hung up to dry. I put it in the huge closet in Kevin's office - a perfect place. It's supposed to be dark, dry, and well ventilated. I think it looks so pretty. I thought we could try just using it for mint tea.

Pea and Mint Couscous

I tried this recipe for Pea and Mint couscous today trying to mimic the couscous we would often buy to eat when we were in Europe in 2007.
It is pretty similar. And I got to use 3 things from the garden! Peas, zucchini, and mint! There is so much food coming out of the garden now, it is so fun.

Pea season is coming to a close though - the plants are looking very brown and I had to use frozen peas for my thai green curry tonight but I got to put garden basil and cilantro in it.

03 August 2009

Really Eating from the garden now

After getting back from vacation there is plenty to eat outside. Still lots of peas and raspberries. We had peas and carrots from the garden for dinner yesterday. The carrots were so fun to harvest because I just had to pull on the stems and food came out! We hadn't wanted to cook the fresh peas because we thought it would be a waste but they were so extra good. The carrots just tasted normal.
And today we ate the three zucchinis that most needed eating after being away for a week. I broiled them in the oven with peppers and onions and olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, rosemary, and oregano and we ate them with veggie burgers.
And here is a gold finch eating seeds from a flower in the backyard.